Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gregory Benton writes:

As Admiral Cunningham said whilst considering the option of evacuating Crete, 'it takes three years to build a ship; it takes three centuries to build a tradition'.

For too many among the Maple Dominion's history-deprived population, tradition is like yesterday's porridge: it takes about twenty-four hours to pass.

To paraphrase Grandad, 'it's easy to tear it down in a minute; it's the building of it that takes time'. Of course, that was over a Meccano set. The thought, sensibility, care and layers of experience that go into the establishing of an institution require more than boiling water. Indeed, the cultural, military, and constitutional institutions that are the foundation of this country, inherited from Britain, permit us the privilege to know the flavour of a centuries-old inheritance.

The armed forces of a country require somewhat more serious consideration of their composition and durability and, in Canada's case, the political wrecking ball applied to the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force by the militarily-challenged scoundrels in the 1960's, is a perfect example of the self-inflicted wound to a nation's soul.

Of course, as history has revealed, the dismantling of the armed services of Canada, that only twenty years before their execution had acquitted themselves so nobly in the theatres of the Atlantic, Britain, France, Italy, Africa, Hong Kong, Germany and the liberation of the Netherlands, was merely a part of the larger operation of a 'soul transplant' for the whole country. Instead of what most countries do, i.e., build on it's past, treasuring it's identity and deeds, Pierre Trudeau, that great intellectual who chose to stay home and play while most of his generation were facing the most ominous challenge of the century, saw Canada as his own canvas on which he would paint a new country. It was the abstract school of his mind from which he envisioned the landscape and so his disciples went forth among the people and the people, verily, were mesmerised by it all.

As much as they tried, and as successful as they were in the operation, there remains in the country something of the spirit and devotion that once shone brightly in the Dominion. It would seem that remnants of the culture that was loyal to its heritage and interests have survived in some places. From the failing hands of old warriors to a younger generation of Canadians thirsty for their rightful legacy, a spirit continues to grow that seeks to restore at least some of what has been lost. There have been some incremental, perhaps subtle demonstrations of this.

Certainly, with the recent re-building of the Canadian Forces and the support they have been given materially and personally, have revived the feelings that have lingered quietly among those who have and continue to serve their country with distinction, courage and pride.

In spite of it all, the nay-sayers could not snuff out the indomitable spirit of the Canadian warrior.

So it is with a number of young Canadians, serving in the Canadian Forces or initimately allied with the families of our sailors, soldiers and airpeople, who are seeking the restoration of the prefix 'Royal' for the Navy and Air Force within the unified Canadian Forces.

While it is simply a change in 'style' rather than of an overhaul of the structure of the military, it is a symbolic gesture that would permit the country, and especially the forces themselves, the dignity of identifying with the tradition from which they are derived in the course of the development of a nation that found much of its greatness attached to those who served as 'Royal' Canadians in their generation.

It would be a significant gesture for parliament to respond positively to this request; so that what once was lost can be found and treasured again.

Whoever you are, or wherever you reside, I invite you to support
this symbolic cause that affirms the heritage of Canada's fighting forces.

Watch and hear the RCN-RCAF animation

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg,

    If this is the Greg Benton that I think it is, it's Gil. I love the commentary - well done!

    MacNeal is in the Sea Cadets. If you are who I think you are, you know how to get a hold of me.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    PS You might want to check out www.votemacneal.com


The Petition moves along...

May 1: Laurie Hawn, M.P. agrees to support petition
April 30: Sent draft petition to The Dominion Institute to seek their sponsorship
April 28: Sent draft petition to Captain(N) Pickingford, Project Manager, Canadian Navy Centennial Project
April 27: Sent petition to Blaine Barker of the Royal Canadian Naval Association and Bob Nixon of the Naval Officer's Association of Canada and Peter Dawe, Executive Director of the RMC Club
April 26: The Monarchist League of Canada members are supportive
April 25: Interesting - even heated - debate over at the Navy, Army, Air Force Forum, where the "Yeas" have it by a two-thirds majority.